Our beef animals are raised on the same pastures as our other livestock, but normally at different times. Cattle are specially equipped with stomachs that are capable of breaking down the tough cellulose that is found in mature grasses and forbs (what many people call weeds). Grasses and forbs are the plants, by volume, that make the most use of the solar energy that hits our farm and cows are an important part of our strategy to make the best of that resource.
While pigs and chickens will eat some of these tougher to digest plants, it is mostly a fiber source for those species and it is cows that will get the most nutritional value. Normally, our chickens will follow behind the cows, taking advantage of the fresh sprouts popping up through the trampled forage and insects that also follow the herd. This practice helps to break pest cycles, such as biting flies, and keep us from needing to apply pesticides to our cattle. By keeping the herd moving – as their wild ancestors would have – we also keep parasites from accumulating and keep fresh forage on the menu, which eliminates the need for antibiotics and deworming.
Unlike the hogs and chickens, cows are able to sustain themselves on forage alone and we do not supplement their diets with grain, although we’ll feed good quality hay if circumstances merit. With our beef, your eye will likely be drawn to the deep red, almost purple , color of the meat and a lean but well-marbled fat content. The rich color and flavor of our beef is a result of the kind of free-roaming exercise that bovine were meant to get and a lifetime’s worth of a clean, natural diet on high quality pasture.